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Showing posts from 2011

Explaining the complexity of Republika Srpska and the Bosnian War

For those of you who don't know, the 90s has seen the dissolution of Yugoslavia into several successor states, one of which was the Republic of Bosnia & Herzegovina, as well as Serbia.

Bosnia comprised of 43% Muslims (calling themselves Bosniaks), 31% Bosnian Serbs and 17% Croats, in the 1991 census.

A referendum for independence was boycotted by the Bosnian Serbs (who were against secession from Serbia, then-considered the main successor of Yugoslavia).

Violence ensued.


Following the declaration of independence, Bosnian Serb forces, supported by the Serbian government of Slobodan Milošević and the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) attacked the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to secure Serbian territory and war soon broke out across Bosnia, accompanied by the ethnic cleansing of the Bosniak population, especially in Eastern Bosnia.
It was principally a territorial conflict, initially between the Serb forces mostly organized in the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) on t…

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year !

Can you believe it ? We've managed to come through 2011 and now we're just less than a week away from 2012. All I can say is : What a year !

It has been incredible. Both on a personal note and on an overall note. We'd be stupid to say that 2011 was a just a normal year.

Nope. It was special. What year would you ever see loads of revolutions, earthquakes, the Royal Wedding ?

Cairo was rocked. Christchurch was crushed, Japan was faced with earthquakes and a tsunami, a fairytale-like Royal Wedding in Westminister, a Bin Laden-live tweeted-assassination, a new Sudan was born (and now Algeria is the largest country in Africa!), a divided Libya was reunited, the world has officially reached 7 billion and counting, and to top it off, the Iraq war is over.

This was the year of Steve Jobs' passing, of Qadaffi's death, of Bin Laden's end, of Socrates' departure and of many others as well.
We may feel like some deserve it and others do not. But ultimately, death can j…

Must-Read Book for Bahrain History enthusiasts

I've spent the past week reading this book about the history of Manama.


Written by Abdul Karim al Orrayed , who is a lifelong artist and historian (born in the 1930s!), he also received the Shaikh Isa Medal for his contributions in art in 2007.

The book was originally written in Arabic and was translated by Loona al Orrayed (the author's daughter). The book is 358 pages long , so mind you, it is a good long read.

To make it easier to explain the book, I'll list the positives and negatives of the book.

Positive:

The book talks about Manama history and it is, according to the author, written via numerous accounts from eye-witnesses and people who lived through those timesThe book is well sourced (although the references are written in Arabic)The book generally explains Bahraini customs in a satisfactory method (and often detailed).The book has 6 Chapters dealing with Manama history, detailing each and every village that used to exist in the present location of Manama , often wi…

Freshen Up With Archaeology Friday (Post II)

A lot of things have been going on since last week and this all should be a good summary of it :

Did Malaria cause the Fall of Rome?

There has never been any real proof of Malaria having been present at all in the Roman Empire. While there are several mentions of a disease sounding very similar to malaria in historical documents from Roman times, there has never been any hard evidence of its presence.

But last year, for the first time, a British scientist proved conclusively that the most dangerous type of malaria was a killer in imperial Rome. The scientist relied on the latest DNA techniques that are revolutionizing the understanding of the role of disease in ancient times.

The malarial DNA from a Roman site, dating from around AD 450, is the oldest definite evidence of malaria in history. The finding of malaria was a remarkable and complicated piece of detective work, which spanned the last ten years.

At its height, the Roman Empire stretched from Scotland in the norther…

A photo from yesteryear: The first Muharraq-Manama bridge

For Bahrainis nowadays, the idea that mainland Bahrain and the island of Muharraq were not connected with any roads, seems like a pretty unbelievable thing.


But for almost all of Bahrain's history, this was the case. No roads whatsoever.

If you wanted to go to Muharraq, you would have to get a boat ride (or if you're strong enough, you could swim!).

Then, in the 20th century, history was made. Muharraq and Manama, reconnected for the first time since the formation of the Bahrain islands!

Though, the bridge built was no highway. As you could see from the photo above, it was a single lane bridge, and had a relatively simple complex when compared to modern bridges.

Nonetheless, I blog this because I found this picture to have been a reminder about how Bahrain has progressed throughout the ages. How much Bahrain has modernized and grown. Shopping Malls come and go, so do sports events and stuff like that. But history remains forever.

Freshen Up With Archaeology Friday (Post I)

Every Friday, I shall be posting the latest news from the field of archaeology and hopefully, I won't miss a single Friday! So, lets start off with this week:
Ancient Stone Markings in Jerusalem stuns Experts:

On the seventh of December, 2011, Archaeologists discovered what seemed to have been a rather odd find in an excavation in Jerusalem. The archaeologists uncovered a complex of rooms carved into the bedrock in the oldest section of the city recently found the markings:  Three "V" shapes cut next to each other into the limestone floor of one of the rooms, about 2 inches (5 centimeters) deep and 20 inches (50 centimeters) long. There were no finds to offer any clues pointing to the identity of who made them or what purpose they served. he shapes were found in a dig known as the City of David, a politically sensitive excavation conducted by Israeli government archaeologists and funded by a nationalist Jewish group under the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in east Jerusale…

Bahrain's History through a Digital Lens

It is of no surprise to people that the internet has changed the way we view things. Changed the way we look at things. But more importantly, it is now a place where the past is stored.

Lets face it, with Google News archive program (and more recently, with the launch of the British Newspaper Archive), the past is now being even more immortalized. Cyber space is the new dimension, it seems.

But a focus of this article I'd like to bring up is digitalizing Bahrain's modern history. Thanks to Google News archives, we can now see articles over 40 (and sometimes 70!) years old, about Bahrain's progressing history. I take an emphasis on Bahrain because it is my home country (But be sure to play around with it, with your own name!).

In this article, we shall look back at some of Bahrain's history in the 20th century. Some forgotten and some immortalized.

1. 542 Escape From Blazing Ship off Bahrain

April 8th 1961 - A British Passenger liner caught fire (an explosion was thought…

Who were the Hittites?

Just over a hundred years ago, the name 'Hittite' was almost unknown, apart from one or two references in the Bible. Then, in 1880, an Englishman named Sayce said that a number of rock carvings in modern Turkey ( in central Turkey, to be precise), resembled remains of a long forgotten empire - that of the Hittites

. He was proved to be correct when, in 1906, a large number of clay tablets were unearthed at a place called Boghazkoy (in central Turkey).

The tablets were mostly in the wedge-shaped signs of Mesopotamia and some could be read without too much difficulty. Others, although looking like straightforward cuneiform, turned out to be in an unknown language.

There were also inscriptions in a kind of picture writing. It took many years before it became possible to decipher the picture writing.

The decipherers were helped when some stone pillars with messages carved on them were found at Kaaratepe. There were two languages; Hittite and Phoenician, the latter is already know…

The Great Anglo-American Rivalry in Bahrain

Great power rivalry with Britain for domination of the Gulf was altered significantly by the outcome of World War I. With the defeat of Germany , the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire and the collapse of Tsarist Russia, Britain emerged in an uncontested position of power and control in the Gulf. At the same time, a new world power was propelled onto the international scene: the United States of America. Although Britain and the USA were allies, it was not long before competition between them began to be registered. In this post, an examination of an Anglo-American rivalry in Bahrain will be discussed from the period following WWI till the dismemberment of the British Raj.

Background Information:

There can be little doubt that in 1918, the Gulf had become a British lake. All the states on the Arab side, from Oman to Kuwait, had special treaty relations with Britain that controlled their foreign affairs. Within a short time, Iraq became a British Mandate, and the rich oilfields of Sou…